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Being a SANS Mentor

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caissyd

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Post Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:11 am

Being a SANS Mentor

Hi everyone,

I know that Zohar Anis (vijay2) recently won the SANS Mentor of the year award (see: http://www.ethicalhacker.net/component/option,com_smf/Itemid,54/topic,5618.msg29545/#msg29545)

But no one has describe their experience has being a SANS mentor on this forum. Any experienced SANS mentor here?

SANS Mentor program: http://www.sans.org/mentor/about.php
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tturner

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Post Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:35 pm

Re: Being a SANS Mentor

I tried it once before about 3 years ago for GSEC in Ft Myers, FL and could not generate enough interest. You have to promote your course. SANS will work with you and send out official correspondence mentioning it and list it on their upcoming events pages but that was not enough. I'm probably going to try to do a GPEN mentor course later this year in Orlando and see if I have better luck. It's a great program but I'm really bad (lazy) at marketing.
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Gr0g

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Post Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:33 pm

Re: Being a SANS Mentor

[Caveat - my information and perceptions are about 5 years old and may no longer be valid]

I was a SANS mentor for about 5 years (having taught about 5 or 6 GSEC groups).  I started before there was any structure to the whole thing and my original influencers were Dr. Cole (before he was Dr. Cole) and Jennifer Klode <sp?>.  I was also an Authorized Grader for the GSEC cert and wrote test questions for the GSEC cert.

Overall, it was a great experience, but it left me with a bitter feeling in the end.  I met some great people and had the satisfaction of seeing them complete their certification (even getting to give a job recomendation for one).  As I understand it, things have changed and the one idiot I had issues with is no longer part of the mentor program.  This is not the arena to set up a rant about it; but sufice it to say, you are graded as if you are a SANS certified instructor. 

If I had a chance to do it again, I probably would.  I know there have been changes to the program over the last few years, including an interview with Dr. Cole before you get to start.  There is also a newer person in charge and the program has more structure in it than when I started.

I would suggest you first try your hand at being a volunteer room monitor for a local SANS event.  I have been a monitor for Ed and Massa Chris Brenton, New Orleans '06, and it allowed me to see some of the goings on behind the scence as well as get a feel for some of the instructors.
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caissyd

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Post Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:24 pm

Re: Being a SANS Mentor

Thank you Gr0g for sharing your experience!

I have always love teaching and this could be a nice opportunity. And I will take tturner (from another post) and your advice: I will try to be a SANS facilitator for a course.
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dynamik

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Post Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:18 pm

Re: Being a SANS Mentor

Take it up if you can. I can mentor GSEC and GPEN, but it's difficult generating the interest in Baton Rouge/NOLA, especially when there are other mentors in the area. I used to travel often for work, which made it impossible, but I would love to actually get one of these courses going. As mentioned previously, you need to "sell" yourself. Present at ISACA, ISSA, OWASP, etc. meetings, Craigslist, and anywhere else. Drumming up interest is the key to getting this going.
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caissyd

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Post Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:46 am

Re: Being a SANS Mentor

Thanks dynamik!

I talked about it recently at my local ISSA meeting. Got some people interested, but I am still waiting for people to contact me...
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idr0p

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Post Sun Jul 10, 2011 3:30 am

Re: Being a SANS Mentor

For all the mentors out there:

Do you read the slides or do you produce your own material. Also how do you do the exercises?
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dynamik

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Post Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:03 am

Re: Being a SANS Mentor

idr0p wrote:For all the mentors out there:

Do you read the slides or do you produce your own material. Also how do you do the exercises?


You use the same materials as the official courses. The sessions are abbreviated, so instead of six full days, you do something like two hours per week for six weeks. There's a lot of self-study involved on the part of the students, and you just focus on the major points/difficult items and answer any questions.

You're responsible for setting up any labs you want to do. It's pretty simple if you have any kind of system that can get a few VMs going. There's a lot of LiveCDs, VMware appliances, and vulnerable distros that can get you setup to demonstrate most concepts fairly quickly. Participants should bring their own laptop and can easily boot to a BT LiveCD or similar.
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